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NEW YORK CITY-What a difference a downturn makes. It wasn’t too long ago that GlobeSt.com columnist Matt Slepin was tracking a trend toward compensation based on an employee’s willingness to stay. (Click on: Personnel File.)

Now, according to our latest Quick Survey, the shifting has stopped and compensation is based less on what real estate executives expect and more on what is expected of them. In fact, 65% of this week’s participants are more likely to reward for deal-making performance rather than managerial capability (21%) or loyalty to the firm (14%). “Realistically, the ability to bring a deal to closure is the skill most valued for front line folks,” says one respondent who opted to expand on his answer. “This is a critical skill set.”

Of course, loyalty is still a commendable commodity, as one writer states. “We look for team members from the perspective of longevity potential, customer-service skills and the ability to work in team atmospheres with constructive attitudes toward challenges,” she writes.

The renewed emphasis on performance reflects a greatly altered climate from that which existed at the start of the summer, when ship-jumping seemed to be at near-epidemic proportions and the pages of GlobeSt.com carried regular stories of managing directors coming aboard rival firms for juicier compensation packages. By contrast, some 34% of this week’s participants chart a slowdown in new hires (compared to 23% who say it’s been picking up), and 26% record a slump in departures (compared to 17% who say ore people are leaving).

Obviously, staying put is the key in a slowdown, although one correspondent indicates that his firm’s Chicago-based staff has remained constant due to the volume of work still out there. “We have seen no decrease in our staff since our area is booming and growing,” he reports. “There is plenty of work for my staff.”

Part of the allure of letting your resume gather dust is the mixture of bonuses and commissions that employers are offering. Indeed, these are the two most frequent reward vehicles, favored by 46% and 38% of our respondents, respectively. Other less popular monetary perks are stock options (favored by 8%) an equity stake (6%), other incentives based on merit (5%) and other incentives based on position (4%).

But this structure can create an imbalance between salaries of like-titled professionals. In fact, 56% of our respondents report such a differential. It’s possible that one of our writers is on the losing end of this imbalance. He writes: “What I find surprising is the degree to which management desires increasing sophistication of its new hires, while not wanting to pay salaries for it. If real estate truly wants to join the ranks of real financial services, it is going to have to pay.”

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